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  • Science Ticker

    Leap second helps us with the reality of time

    Not enough time in your day?

    Today, everyone gets an extra second. The Earth’s rotation has slowed down enough to warrant a leap second at the end of June 30. For that second, the official time will be 11:59:60 p.m.

    Leap seconds ...

    06/30/2015 - 06:00 Earth, Technology
  • News

    Super-Earths are not a good place for plate tectonics

    Plate tectonics doesn’t rumple the surfaces of Earth’s supersized cousins, new research suggests.

    Simulating the extreme pressures inside giant exoplanets called super-Earths, researchers discovered that these planets probably have thick, stagnant outer shells and sluggish internal circulation. Those properties make the existence of fragmented jigsaw puzzles of sliding and shifting...

    06/26/2015 - 14:12 Exoplanets, Planetary Science, Earth
  • News

    Fast-spreading crack threatens giant Antarctic ice shelf

    Scientists have spotted the mortal wound that could prompt the collapse of Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf.

    Satellite images reveal that a crack in Larsen C rapidly extended tens of kilometers across the ice shelf in 2014. If the crack reaches the ice shelf’s edge, it could snap off a Delaware-sized area of ice, researchers...

    06/19/2015 - 15:20 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Many of Earth’s groundwater basins run deficits

    Climate and human consumption are parching Earth’s groundwater basins at an alarming rate, a new study finds. Of Earth’s 37 biggest groundwater basins, 21 now lose more water annually than they take in, researchers report in a paper to be published in Water Resources Research.

    That’s troubling,...

    06/18/2015 - 13:30 Agriculture, Earth, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Dinosaurs may not have seen the Grand Canyon after all

    Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex never peered over the Grand Canyon’s steep slopes, new research suggests.

    Estimates of the canyon’s origins vary from under 6 million (SN: 1/25/14, p. 22) to more than 70 million years ago (...

    06/18/2015 - 06:00 Earth
  • Science Stats

    Most of Earth’s impact craters await discovery

    Earth’s surface could hide some big blemishes. More than 90 impact craters larger than a kilometer across await discovery, researchers estimate in the Sept. 1 Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

    While scars from meteor impacts pepper other planets — Mars alone has more than 300,000 — erosion has...

    06/17/2015 - 10:00 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Water's origin story, science and sci-fi and more reader feedback

    Water from space

    A barrage of icy asteroids might have brought water to Earth. In “Water, water everywhere” (SN: 5/16/15, p. 18), ...

    06/17/2015 - 08:39 Planetary Science, Earth
  • News

    Fluid injection triggers earthquakes indirectly, study finds

    The first up-close look at artificially triggered tremors suggests seismicity caused by human activities starts slow before shaking things up. The finding could help scientists better understand, and possibly even stem, the rising rate of earthquakes near sites where unwanted fluids, such as gunky water left over from fracking, are injected underground.

    Researchers triggered and studied...

    06/11/2015 - 14:00 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Grand Canyon’s age revised, again

    Estimates of the canyon’s origins vary from under 6 million (SN: 1/25/14, p. 22) to more than 70 million years ago (SN: 1/12/13, p. 15) — old enough for dino visitors. A comparison of the Colorado Plateau’s rocky...

    06/10/2015 - 12:34 Earth
  • Introducing

    Eruptions create new islands in the Red Sea

    Update your maps: Two new islands have popped up in the strip of ocean between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Witnessing the birth of a volcanic island is incredibly rare, but thanks to satellite images, researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, retraced the formation of two islands in the Red Sea.

    The new islands, called...

    06/02/2015 - 11:58 Earth